It was written on his face after the game, a look of exhaustion mixed with sadness and a bit of confusion. Patrick Mahomes, it seems, wasn’t quite sure what to say to reporters who had questions for a team who was favored to win their second straight Super Bowl. You could likely assume that Mahomes had the same questions for the Kansas City Chiefs.
On Sunday, the Chiefs were on the unfortunate end of a lopsided game for the NFL championship, a 31-6 loss to Tom Brady and and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that halted an impressive “run it back” campaign. The quest to establish a dynasty was delayed by another 12 months.
For his part, Mahomes tried multiple times to rally the troops, but nothing—absolutely nothing—went the Chiefs way on Sunday night. From odd officiating calls to self-inflicted wounds, the Chiefs invented ways to halt momentum in Super Bowl LV, or watched it get taken from them by random flags here and there. Dropped passes. Poor special teams. Generating zero pressure while surrendering a ton. It was a miserable night for K.C.
After the game, Mahomes spoke with reporters and tried to summon reasonable answers to complex questions.
"“Obviously I didn’t play the way I wanted to play, but what else can you say? All you can do is leave everything you have on the field, and I feel like the guys did that. They were the better team today. They beat us pretty good, the worst I think I’ve been beaten in a long time, but I’m proud of the guys and how they fought to the very end of the game.”"
Mahomes credited the Bucs defensive game plan—put together by defensive coordinator Todd Bowles—while acknowledging his own mistakes. Mahomes completed only 26 of 49 passes on Sunday for 270 yards and threw two interceptions while being held without a score for the first time ever in his professional career.
"“They had a good game plan. They took away our deep stuff. They took away the sidelines. They did a good job of rallying to the football and making tackles. We weren’t executing early. I had a few miscues. Guys, we weren’t on the same page. But credit to them, they played a heckuva game defensively and offensively they beat us.”"
When asked about his turf toe injury that’s lingered for the postseason, ever since the team’s win over the Cleveland Browns in the Wild Card round, Mahomes deflected that one pretty quickly. It might require surgery after the season, as expected, but Mahomes wasn’t remotely interested in placing blame on an injury when so many others are battling through their own pain.
"“I can’t say the toe was a problem when I played two weeks ago and I played well on it. If you’re playing football, you have to battle through injuries,” said Mahomes. We’ll look at it tomorrow and make a final decision on it if we’re going to have to have surgery on it or not.”"
For now, Mahomes will look to heal while also come to grips with a lost opportunity of a second consecutive Super Bowl. As a team, the Chiefs will also hope to find some answers for how they came out so flat against a team they’d just beaten back in Week 12.